Cartagena’s Cathedral of San Pedro Claver (Iglesia de San Pedro Claver) immortalizes the life of Saint Pedro Claver, one of the first human rights pioneers in the Americas. The austere stone facade of the cathedral alludes to a peaceful interior, where visitors can pay their respects to the remains of the saint, which are visible through a gilded glass case. The Basics
A prime location in the midst of Cartagena’s old town has secured the cathedral’s place on multiple sightseeing tours. Visit on a tour that focuses on UNESCO World Heritage sites, or stop by on an evening horse-and-carriage ride. Alternatively, walking tours provide a more intimate experience of the old town, and help first-time visitors orient themselves in the Caribbean city. Things to Know Before You Go
- The Cathedral of San Pedro Claver plays an important role in the history of Cartagena, making it a must-see for first-time visitors and history buffs.
- Alongside the church is San Pedro Claver’s former house, now a museum exhibiting one of the most complete collections of religious art on the Colombian coast.
- Usually an hour is ample time to explore both the church and museum.
- The Cathedral of San Pedro Claver is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Located on Calle San Pedro, the Cathedral of San Pedro Claver is about a 2-minute walk from Plaza Bolivar, the cultural and historical hub of the city. To stay cool in Cartagena’s sweltering daytime heat, opt for a city tour that includes air-conditioned transport. When to Get There
The Cathedral of San Pedro Claver is open all day, every day. The church’s cool interior courtyard offers midday visitors a break from the heat.
History of a Human Rights Pioneer
Although the cathedral was constructed in 1575, its namesake, Saint Pedro Claver Corberó, didn’t arrive in Cartagena, then a slave-trading hub, until 1610. A Spanish Jesuit priest, Pedro was horrified by the treatment of African captives, who were bought and sold on what’s now Plaza de los Coches. He baptized slaves in the cathedral’s courtyard, and believed that they deserved all the rights held by other Christian citizens of the Spanish Empire.